Sunday, June 21, 2009

New home, new friends

(water bottle shown for size comparison, not for kitten food or bedding!)
As you know, or maybe you don't know, I love animals and will feed any creature that shows up at my front door looking hungry. For the past 8 months or so, I've been feeding a stray cat that I call Butternut, as well as her grown-up kitten Sprinkles, and a male cat. They have gotten so friendly and tame that they will just walk right in the front door and into the kitchen to get a snack, and sometimes jump up on the couch afterward to be petted for a little while. Well, a few months ago, Sprinkles had some kittens of her own. I was hoping to pet them, but they're pretty skittish and we still haven't been able to get close to them. We figured that Butternut wasn't able to have kittens anymore because her hips are kinda messed up and her tail just kind of dangles there, she can't lift or move it.
And then one night last week it stormed. While it was raining, we heard a strange little sound, like a bird. Husband got up to look out the window on the front door and didn't see anything. So he opened the door and said "OH. MY. GOD." So of course I ran over there. There on the doorstep, taking shelter from the rain, was Butternut. Next to her was the tiniest black and white kitten I've ever seen, mewing pathetically. We scooped them up and dried them off and put the kitten in a box with a towel. Butternut was pacing and acting weird, so we let her out after a while. She didn't come back, so I decided to sleep on the couch with the kitten box next to me so our other cats didn't interfere with it (earlier Bijou gave it a good bop on the head...). Husband had an early shift and left around 4:00 in the morning. Butternut still wasn't back. But around 7:00, I was awakened by a familiar sound... I opened the door to find a tiny, shaking orange kitten all by herself, crying. I sighed and picked her up, dried her off, and put her in the box next to the other one. Obviously they were siblings, as they curled up next to each other and went to sleep right away. Sure enough, a couple of hours later, Butternut returned and came in to feed them. And now, almost a week later, they are still in the apartment.
It was all adorable and I love kittens, but we already have two cats. Plus, Butternut decided to bring them the week before we give up that apartment for our new one. The selfish part of me wants to keep all three of them, but that doesn't seem very practical. It's like a cat soap opera around here, honestly.
Well, I'm glad I can enjoy playing with kittens at least for a few days :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sweet Summer Nectar

ATTENTION: If you are lucky enough to find this jar in your local grocery or specialty store, get it!!

This is a jar of yuzu tea mix. It looks a little like runny marmalade, but you don't spread it on toast. No, you mix a few teaspoonfuls into a glass of ice water, or soda water, or hot water, and make iced yuzu tea, yuzu soda, or hot yuzu tea, respectively. It's that easy. My favorite way to have it is in iced tea form. During these hot summer days, this stuff is heaven.

I first had iced yuzu tea at a Korean restaurant in Japan on a hot day. I had never even heard of it before, even on previous trips to Japan, and I was sad when I finished because I didn't know where to get it. But then I did a little internet research recently, and discovered it comes in huge jars like that. And lo and behold, one of the Asian markets in my city carries it!

I'm trying to not use the entire jar today. But, no guaruntees.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Well, to follow up on my last entry, all is well in the household world. Well, my household, at least. Husband was not mad at me and later told me that I was right and he was sorry (!!). Can I get that in writing, please? Haha, just kidding. He really is a good guy when you get down to it. And right now, he's at work! His new job, despite the unsavory schedule, seems to be something he likes and the pay is decent. "Decent" is about all you can hope for here in South Carolina. He gets to travel all over the state and sometimes across state lines, which is really neat, but it also means that often he will be out until 3:00 a.m. or later. So, although I feel a little lonely, I much prefer this to the alternative.

To try to fend off this loneliness, I've decided to take up some new hobbies. One of these is It's a site that lets you send a postcard to a random person who could be anywhere in the world, and then you in turn receive a postcard from another random person anywhere in the world. Today I sent one to the Netherlands! It's really cool, and it blows my mind that someone, somewhere, is preparing a postcard to send to me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When it rains...

Well, you know how the saying goes.

We managed to make it back home on Saturday, after having to get a tow to a garage in the nearest town. Luckily, my FIL snuck his AAA membership card to my husband before MIL demanded they leave (without saying good-bye...or anything else, for that matter). So, the tow didn't cost us anything. The repairs were a different story, unfortunately, because it wasn't just the absent belt that was the problem, it was a part that holds the belt in place. After spending half of Friday in the smoky waiting area, we were able to drive back to the beach house, our wallets considerably lighter. We thought we would be able to relax then, but of course we discovered that in her haste to leave us, MIL hadn't cleaned a single thing in the beach house, leaving us to scrub down the entire thing. The way the rentals work is you either clean everything yourself before you leave, or you pay an extra $100 for maid service after you check out, which, at that point, we obviously did not have. So, instead of relaxing on the beach or the dock, our Friday evening was spent cleaning and packing. By the way, I found out that the reason she ended up hating me did not start out as my fault. She became irate that the brake pads on her car needed to be replaced (which she demanded be done the minute they started squeaking a little, on the first day we were at the beach house) and she didn't want to spend that amount of money. So, stewing about this, according to FIL, I became the easiest target because I began avoiding her when she was in such a mood- and when I say "mood," think of the way a sulky four-year-old child acts immediately after throwing a tantrum. She bitched about every single thing FIL did, and most things husband did, so I wasn't about to get in her path. Apparently this angered her to no end. I also didn't jump up right after every single meal and offer to do the dishes while she was slamming things around in the kitchen, which pretty much sealed my fate. And then, each morning when she emerged from her bedroom cursing and stomping and husband and I were safely watching TV out of her way, I neglected to say a cheerful "good morning, how did you sleep?" to her, the final nail in my coffin. My husband won't speak to her because he's so angry about the whole thing. Not that she has deigned to apologize, though.

I felt relieved, although still smarting from MIL's treatment on the ride home. Just when we thought we could finally relax and get back into our normal routine, we found out that husband had lost his job. This was not a total surprise, but it still didn't help matters considering what we spent the day before on the car. Then, I checked my e-mail, only to find that my summer teaching position at the university had been canceled. Newly unemployed, we looked over the pieces of mail that had arrived in our absence. Among them was a curious certified letter from the court system of the county where we lived a year ago. Lo and behold, it was an order to appear in court as a result of a claim our former landlord made- that we hadn't paid the final utility bills. Last summer, I thought all of this had been resolved when they sent us a letter demanding a ridiculous amount of money for it, and we sent them photocopies of the cancelled checks with the proper amount and "Utilities for [address]" written very clearly in the memo. They never responded to that letter, so we considered the matter closed. And now, here we are an entire year later, receiving this bullshit.

And lastly, we are moving to a new place, which should be a joyous occasion. The new place is smaller, but it has a tiny yard, plus a washer, dryer, and a dishwasher! Hallelujah! Also, it's $50 cheaper per month that what we've been paying. The not-so-joyous part is that we had to fork over the first month's rent yesterday when we picked up the keys. We also had to pay the final month's rent on our present apartment, which left us stretched a little thin. Then, we found out that the water company wants to charge us a whopping $75 to start service at the new place.

My husband turned to me and said, "Well, at least we can't say our lives are boring."
I looked at him for a moment, then replied, "Have I ever, in the six years you've known me, complained that my life has ever for a single minute been boring?"
"No," he said. "No, you haven't."